real estate meetups

What it was like attending my first real estate meetup group

 
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I’ll be honest. When I showed up to my first real estate meetup group in Atlanta, GA I was extremely nervous. I was still fairly new the world of real estate and didn’t quite know what to expect. The idea of going to meetups was first suggested to me by some real estate blogs and other investors I was following online. Many people mentioned them as a great way to make connections with like-minded people who could help me reach my goals faster. I didn’t have much to lose by checking out the group, especially since it was free, but as I pulled into the parking lot, I was definitely nervous. Normally I’m pretty fearless and assertive but moments before I walked into the meeting there was a small voice of doubt I had to suppress and a glimmer of courage I had to cling to in order to actually walk into the meeting. Here are 5 things I was thinking during the meeting:

 

1. “There aren’t a lot of people who look like me.” When I entered the room, one thing became immediately apparent – there weren’t many people who looked like me. As I scanned the room, I quickly noticed that it was dominated by white men. As an African-American female I stood out like the lone chocolate chip in sea of vanilla. The demographics weren’t exactly shocking to me, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel out of place initially. About 5 minutes later a couple women walked in the meeting. Soon thereafter, the room became a bit more diverse and I became a lot more comfortable.

2. “Wow. There is a lot I don’t know.” The meeting started with an introduction and quickly transitioned into a deep-dive on how to flip houses in a cost-effective manner. I found the material interesting, but several of the details were a little above my head. Although I knew some of the basics, many of the terms have subtle differences which can be a bit tough to keep straight for anyone who isn’t as familiar with the vocabulary. Understanding the difference between an Internal Rate of Rate and the Cash-on-Cash return, definitely caused me a bit of confusion. At first, I was alarmed, but as I continued to sit there and listen to the speaker, things started making a little more sense. I didn’t grasp everything, but I understood a good portion of it and certainly gained more knowledge than I had before I walked into the meeting.

3. “The people here are really smart.” For the second part of the meeting we split into smaller groups of about 10 people. We then introduced ourselves and spoke about our previous real estate experience and our current real estate goals. It was during this session that I was literally blown away. As people introduced themselves, it became obvious that the majority of these people had years and even decades of real estate investing experience. Some of them mentioned previous deals and spoke about things they did to save money on costs and increase profits. I was amazed.  

4. “I’m making a lot of connections.” When it came time for me to introduce myself, I decided to take a leap of faith and be honest. Despite the myriad of investing experience that surrounded me in this group, I opened my mouth and admitted that I hadn’t actually started investing in real estate yet. I mentioned that I was, at that time, still a medical student who had a desire to use multifamily real estate investing to achieve my goal of financial independence. Much to my surprise, they didn’t judge me or give me condescending looks of disapproval. Instead, they all applauded my honesty and were extremely encouraging. Several of the investors told me stories about how they found their first deals, different ideas for how to find capital (aka using other people’s money to fund your deals) and a few even offered to walk me though the process. Going to this meeting helped me make several different connections that proved to be extremely valuable.

5. “I’m really glad I went.” Despite the initial nerves, feelings of being out of place, and the realization that I was amongst people who were way more knowledgeable than I was, I am so glad I went to that meeting. Not only did I learn a lot, but I also connected with several people that I never would have met otherwise. Overcoming my fears of going to that meeting, gave me the courage to go to even more meetings. Before I knew it, I became a regular attendee and gained access to exclusive deals and financing opportunities only reserved for people with certain connections. As the old saying goes, “To achieve something you’ve never obtained, you must do something you’ve never done.” Going to my first real estate meetup was a testament to this. Although my life as a resident physician working up to 80 hours a week can make attending these meetup groups a little challenging, I still go when I can and have never regretted it.

 

The Importance of Networking: Why I Starting Going to Real Estate Meetups

 

Last year around this time I had a lot on my plate. As a graduating medical student, I was making the finishing touches on my residency application and prepping for the mandatory hospital rotations needed to complete my degree. With all of that going on, I still made it a priority to attend real estate meetups once a month. I went to these groups for 5 main reasons:  

 

1. I needed to learn new skills. Unlike people who choose to focus on one job or skill for the majority of their lives, I want more. Instead of working a traditional job into my 50s I want to acquire passive income through real estate investing. Acquiring this passive income through real estate allows me to continue building wealth for my family while also providing me with the flexibility I crave, whether that means working part-time to have children or simply creating space for me to pursue less lucrative passion projects. Since I didn’t grow up around real estate investors, I needed to learn some background information and acquire a whole new skill set. Going to these real estate meetups put me in direct contact with people who had these skills that I could learn from.

 

2. I needed to expand my network. If I ever wanted to achieve my goal of building wealth through real estate, I had to start doing things I’d never done. This meant thinking differently and surrounding myself with people who had already achieved what I was looking to obtain. Along with learning new skills, going to these meetups gave me a way to expand my network so I could interact with real estate investors and emulate people who had already achieved these goals.

 

3. I needed mentors. My parents didn’t use real estate to build their retirement savings and none of my close family members had the experience needed to guide me through the process. Despite the numerous podcasts I listened to and books I read, I needed more. I still had questions that were unanswered and concepts I wanted clarification on. Going to these meetups were a great solution. They helped me find mentors who could “show me the ropes” build relationships with people who could serve as advisors. Because of these meetups, I met people who volunteered to teach me how to find, evaluate, and finance deals.

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4. I needed to change my thinking. Along with mentorship, my outlook on real estate reached a whole new level when I started going to meetups. The people I met at these groups kept me inspired in the midst of doubt. They gave me insight on how to invest in real estate in ways that could increase my monthly cash flow and help me save money on taxes. They also kept me optimistic about my goals and my ability to eventually create wealth. Being around people who were constantly discussing deals and sharing advice on pitfalls to avoid helped me learn more than I ever could have imagined. These meetups changed my view of real estate investing and made me even more committed to my goals.

 

5. I needed access to deals. The final reason I needed to expand my network was to actually NETWORK. Some of the best real estate deals are ones that take advantage of “leverage” and involve multiple investors. Companies raise money from rich investors and fund lucrative investments as a group. Unfortunately, it’s illegal to advertise these deals to the general public due to their high risk and buy-in costs. The only way to actually find out about these deals is to meet the people who create them or invest in them. Going to meetups played a key role in allowing me to cultivate business relationships with people who could give me access to those deals.

 

Long story short: the meets-ups help me expand my network. I needed to expand my network to continue to meet potential mentors and surround myself with people who could keep me motivated to reach my goals, safeguard against doubt, and get me to think more like an investor. Lastly, I needed to expand my contacts and cultivate relationships with people who could be potential partners in the future. 

Have you ever gone to a real estate meetup group? If so, what was the experience like for you?